Grand Coulee Dam to Chief Joseph Dam

(Section 2)



Length of this water section: 51 miles
Lake formed behind Chief Joseph Dam: Rufus Woods Lake
Dams completed: Grand Coulee - 1941; Chief Joseph - 1955


Landscape: You'll find large stretches of scablands and sagebrush, interspersed with chunks of acreage that have apples, wheat and hay growing on them. Spotting a tree is like locking eyes on an eagle. The river also narrows in this stretch. The south side of the river is Douglas County; the north side is the Colville Indian Reservation.

Put in: Seaton’s Grove
Take out: Bridgeport State Park
Elevation drop: From 1,290 to 956 feet above sea level
Water character: Flat, with some ripples

Navigation tips: You are largely on your own on this stretch as it is desolate with few access roads and facilities and just a smattering of homes. There are only two established campgrounds and they are 33 miles apart.

Navigation links: Wind conditions | River flow

Paddler on-river facilities (moving downriver):

  • Seaton’s Grove near Elmer City (Mile 46, north shore): Boat ramp
  • Colville Tribe Net Pens (Mile 35, north shore): Campground
  • Bridgeport State Park (Mile 2, north shore): Campground, RVs, dock, toilet

Places to eat/drink: Once you put in below Grand Coulee Dam, you won't fine an eatery until you pull out near Chief Joseph Dam and wander into nearby Bridgeport or Brewster

Other lodging: The Grand Coulee area, Bridgeport and Brewster have hotels and motels.
If you have a vehicle: The Colville Indian Reservation, located on the north side of Rufus Woods Lake, is a fascinating place to visit and steeped in Native American culture and history. It also is where the legendary Chief Joseph (the dam’s namesake) is buried after dying there in exile. You can access the reservation via Highway 155 from Coulee Dam and Highway 17 from Brewster.

For more:

Links of interest: Brewster Chamber of Commerce | Chief Joseph Dam | Bridgeport State Park | Rufus Woods Lake | Colville Confederated Tribes |
Grand Coulee Dam Chamber of Commerce

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